When my romantic relationships failed, I once turned to my powerful BFF Bacardi and his reliable sidekick Coca Cola for support. Drama by the name of Conchita (my alter ego) would soon saunter through the bars door. She’d sit right beside me, whispering for me to “take another swig” and “call the bastard!” I would always listen; an array of drunken texts and calls followed. Because I was young, drunk, and really fucking needy.
That was the 23 year old me (and the few years that followed). Now, in my 30’s, I take a different approach to heartbreak. I keep it moving just like most men do. Let’s face it. Very few men are waiting at home for us to pick up the phone and dial their number. So I won’t either. When my now ex-boyfriend, Luke, stood me up on that Thursday evening, I didn’t go home after work. Instead, the clock hit 7pm and I took the uptown A train to the 193rd Street stop. I strolled down Bennett Avenue, taking in the sun and tall Oak trees, and made my way down to Broadway. A few blocks over and I was at my new favorite Washington Heights hang out, Apt.78.
I walked up the one step and entered the artistically decorated bar and lounge. Making my way toward the bar, I noticed an interesting painting. It was bright. Pink and turquoise hues covered the canvas. And so did two men who looked like they were frolicking on a beach, caught in mid poke. I smiled at my naughty thought and was impressed at the progressiveness of the Dominican owner, Jose Morales.
Soon, I was standing by the bar. I asked two gentlemen to my left if I could squeeze in to order a drink. They nodded but indicated that the available seat was taken. “I didn’t want to sit,” I replied while flagging down the bartender.
Now, 20-something year old Sujeiry would have taken this time to order a Bacardi and Coke (more specifically: Bacardi with a splash of Coke). Instead, I ordered a margarita on the rocks. A sign of the changing times.
While sipping on the yummy margarita, the available seat was occupied. I turned slightly to my left and noticed the occupant was a cute Caucasian. The two gentlemen who allowed me to stand in their section of the bar then began a conversation about Washington Heights. I turned around fully and put my two cents in about the changing neighborhood where I grew up until the age of 12. The cute Caucasian suddenly stroked my light gray Material Girl jacket. “This is a really nice blazer. It’s like trendy sportswear,” he said. I nodded and said thank you before returning to my drink. Another touch. This time on the elbow. “You’re really pretty,” he stated. I heard his slurred speech. He was very drunk, and as men often do utilizing his liquid courage.
“I work in finance…what do you do?” I told him about my day job and briefly spoke of my relationship writing.
“Can I get your number,” he continued, more courageous than ever. I tilted my head as I thought about his request. Should I? I pondered. What about Luke? I questioned. I shook my head and chose to speak the truth.
“I have a boyfriend.” But Drunk Caucasian was persistent.
“We can have drinks…hang out as friends,” he replied, stumbling over his words. “Though I find you really fucking cute and funny and smart,” he added. I shook my head again, refusing to go down this road though my boyfriend was no longer fulfilling his boyfriend-ly duties.
“How about email?” He persisted. I winced, unsure of what to do. He was cute. Drunk but cute. And my relationship with Luke was pretty much over, though it had yet to be stated.
“What about Facebook?” I rebutted, going against my own Facebook friending rules. He leaned his head back and waved, as if shooing away the idea. “Ok…” I began slowly. “Let me get your number,” I heard myself saying.
“Work or cell?” He asked.
“Work,” I chose, feeling slightly better. His work number was less personal, I rationalized. I pulled out my iPhone from my back pocket and he dictated his phone number. When I plugged it in, he told me to call him. Then he headed out of Apt 78 with his friends to play poker. I was left at the bar, alone with my thoughts and my second margarita. My only solace was that it wasn’t a Bacardi and Coke.